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Manhappenstance

By Noah Miller for Start.Write.Now

I happen to live

in Manhattan, so I’ll tell you about

Manhattan. A few days ago was the

last

day of

school, where we

all

took the chemistry regents.

After it some people asked me how hard

they thought I thought it was.

I just said that it was a typical regents.

I got together with four friends.

We went to a diner,

ate sugar straight out of the packets,

then played

many

consecutive hours of video games.

At eight

in the evening, I headed home.

It was the first hot day

of the year.

I was wading in heat.

Also sweat.

I went underground

to the subway and it got slightly cooler.

To get home I always take the 1 train to Grand Central, then transfer to the N/Q/R train.

On the 1 train, a man gets on board.

He is shortish, has a yellow tank top, a large crayola blue camping bag, curly hair, and lean muscles.

A little dirty.

He doesn’t sit down, he swings himself back and forth on a pole. A few stops later he does sit down and laughs annoyingly loudly, with his hands covering his face, saying, “Ohh, that’s great! That’s just so great!” So yeah, he’s crazy. I’m wondering what stop he’s getting out at. When it’s Grand Central, I hastily rush out of the car and head up the stairs. I look behind. I don’t see him. I look forward,  and then he runs right in front of me, cutting me off. “Oh man,” he says, talking right to me, “You were really fast, but I was faster.” I don’t respond. He looks a little disappointed. I don’t think he would have harmed me, but really what else can I do but ignore him.

Now, when you’re in Grand Central, transferring from the

1 to the N/Q/R,

there are

two paths you can take in the station.

I see him go down the shorter path.

I know that he’s probably going on the

same train

that I’m taking.

I walk down the path that he didn’t and get to the platform.

I can’t spot him from where I am.

I catch the Q and have an uneventful trip to Union Square. I think about Union Square. I recently learned that Adam Brodheim, a Senior (who just graduated) on our school’s robotics team lives near there. I know that because we both went home after the same end-of-the-year robotics meeting a few days prior. We took all the same trains. It was awkward. I’ve never seen him in the neighborhood, but we must live close to each other.

I get out at Union Square.

It’s warm, so the Occupy Wall Street protesters are out.

At least the crazy ones.

A lot of the sane ones have given up, but some weirdo’s still stick around.

And who do I happen to see but our

good old

yellow shirted

friend.

He must’ve beat me out of the exit,

because he was already

deep in conversation

with a tattooed man by the time I saw him.

I tried to avoid him

(although I think he did see and recognize me)

but I did pick up one line from the conversation.

The yellow shirted man said,

“I now know what our bodies are for. Our bodies are weapons.”

He seemed excited about this.

I walk quickly, I don’t want trouble.

As I walk across Union square, I see an old man try to talk a woman who looks like she’s never seen him before. He looks like a protester too. As I come to the end of the block, I have to wait for the traffic light before I can cross the street. The woman is next to me, and that man has followed her. You can tell he’s not normal from his speech patterns.

“Nobody ever likes me,

nobody listens to me.”

The woman is middle aged and cynical. She’s not threatened. She ignore him. He continues.

“Nobody ever talks to me.”

She annoyedly responds, “Maybe it has to do with the way you present yourself.”

He puts his hands on her rolling bag and starts feeling it. She doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t look like he’s trying to steal anything.

I’m really unsure just what he’s doing.

The light turns green and I cross the street, abandoning the duo.

A few blocks down, walking perpendicular to my direction, I see Adam the senior.

Wow, I’m psychic.

“Adam! Adam!” He looks at me, and is just as surprised as I am.

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